The Vietnam War profoundly conditioned the thinking of military and civilian leaders toward the use of force as an instrument of U. S. power in so- called Low Intensity Conflicts (LIC). The U. S. Congress and military establishment have in various ways sought to limit presidential war powers to ensure that another Vietnam tragedy never happens again. In the process, however, authority over U.S. foreign policy has been seriously fragmented, and we have undermined our own credibility as a world power. Both the War Powers Resolution and the Weinberger doctrine directly undermine U.S. national security interests. Dealing effectively with LICs requires that we maintain a credible deterrence across the entire spectrum of conflict, and do not publicly rule out the option of using military forces as a last resort, that we restore an element of consensus in the foreign policy process, and that we allocate much greater resources to address LICs before they reach proportions that threaten our vital interests.